A lot of libertarians have been falling off the liberty horse and have begun advocating either directly or indirectly for state solutions to problems. It usually revolves around security: borders, police, terrorism, etc. And while it may be surprising to see some people promoting anti-libertarian ideas, you could see this problem coming from a mile away.
What happened? One explanation is that it’s a reactionary response to social justice warriors and more generally leftists.
Leftists usually have some pretty bad ideas. As such, they are almost always incorrect. So it is extremely easy to absolutely obliterate them and ideology with just a bit of simple logical thought. Many people do it and plenty of them have become popular on social media such as Twitter and YouTube. Memes have also become a huge tool in the fight against leftism. And there is nothing wrong with any of this. It is good to expose poor views for what they are.
But it seems that some people have been unable to grow out of the paradigm of the dichotomy of ideas. We see this in an argument between the typical Democrat and Republican. “Oh, the Democrat believes ‘X’? Well, then I believe ‘-X’!” Just look at how most of the country’s opinion on executive orders flipped on January 20, 2017.
Unfortunately, many in the libertarian community suffer from this way of thinking. Taking the opposite side of someone who is incorrect, i.e. leftists, does not necessarily make you correct. There needs to be something more than just that. In other words, principles matter. But there was and continues to be a lot of positive feedback for ripping apart leftist ideas, so it becomes easy to convince themselves that they are always correct. After all, none of the leftists that they argue with can prove that they’re wrong.
They get used to never being wrong in arguments. The same thing would happen to a boxer who only fights opponents way below his level.
Suddenly, the goal of their “libertarianism” is proving others wrong instead of searching for truth and eliminating harmful coercion in society. The principled libertarianism takes a back seat. The ideas end up getting massaged to fit into what they want to believe.
So when someone else comes along with a view that does not fall in line with theirs, even if it’s not a leftist idea, the conditioned response is “No, if I believe something, then I’m right.” Some might even automatically associate a view that is incongruent with their own as leftist (hence why I was repeatedly called a “communist” for opposing state control of the borders). A false sense of confidence leads to an intellectual laziness that results in fallacious and illogical supporting arguments.
A lot of previously good, reliable libertarians have succumbed to this problem. Be on the lookout and be sure to call it out. And remember, it’s okay to be wrong as long as correcting it steers you in the direction of eliminating harmful coercion that is antithetical to libertarianism.